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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben April 8, 2017



Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!

April 8, 2017

On Broadway, The Play That Goes Wrong, by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, at the Lyceum Theatre, is a silly, slapstick comedy about a dramatic production by a university of a murder mystery entitled The Murder at Haversham Manor, in which everything goes wrong as the title indicates. The two acts features an energetic cast, in which every comic moment is repeated ad nauseam. We watch for two hours things fall down from the walls, furniture collapse, the floor on the second floor falls like a slide when a pole supporting it is knocked down, characters are hit by a door being opened, and so much more nonsense. If this is your cup of tea (this English production and cast was a hit in London), then go and enjoy this mindless entertainment. By the end the complete set collapses. For me, it was excruciating. Mark Bell directed the cast. It took three writers to write this play. It took only Michael Frayn to write Noises Off, a play that goes wrong, which was funnier and better.


Amelie, book by Craig Lucas, music by Daniel Messe, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messe, based on the motion picture by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, at the Walter Kerr Theatre, is a pleasant musical, about a young waitress (an excellent Phlippa Soo) in Paris, who wants to do good things for people, while living a lonely life. As in all romantic stories, she finds love with a young man (Adam Chanler-Berat), whose scrapbook she finds and returns to him. It's a whimsical tale, but the music is soft and sweet, and the lyrics are intelligent. The two leads are fine singers, and are quite charming. The rest of the cast sing and perform well, under the direction of Pam MacKinnon. The opening night party took place at the Concourse at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with many guests like Steven Pasquale, the fiance of Phillipa Soo (photo below), Sheldon Harnick and his wife Margery and his sister-in-law Barrie Barrie. As Cole Porter used to say, it was a swell party!


A revival of Present Laughter, by Noel Coward, at the St.James Theatre, stars Kevin Kline. It is a delight to see him back on the Broadway stage. He plays a vain actor to perfection. His every gesture made the audience roar with laughter. I am confident he will pick up a Tony nomination. The set by David Zinn is stunning, a magnificent London apartment with a spare room for Kevin's one night stands, that includes, Tedra Millan and Cobie Smulders (photo below) in their Broadway debuts. Both deserve a Theatre World Award. Kate Burton as his wife, Kristine Nielsen as his secretary, Reg Rogers and Peter Francis James as his theatre friends all contribute to an evening of great hilarity.  A special word for the gown by Susan Hilferty that Cobie wears in her first appearance on stage. It is gorgeous and my wife wants it! It is a most entertaining evening. The opening night party was held at Gotham Hall with Daryl Roth, Liz Larsen and Charlotte d'Amboise among many other guests.


Gently Down The Stream, by Martin Sherman, at the Public Theater, brings back Harvey Fierstein, directed by Sean Mathias, to the stage. For that, we should be grateful. However, with the play itself, we have many problems. Fierstein plays Beau, a gay American living in London, when homosexual love was in the closet. He is a pianist, who accompanied the late, great Mabel Mercer. We hear her performing three songs, the highlight of this show. The purported play is a history lesson on gay rights. When Beau meets Rufus (Gabriel Ebert), a happy, young gay lawyer, eager to learn about Beau's history, we are forced to hear three monologues. But worse, is the appearance of Harry (Christopher Sears), who breaks up the cosy relationship to marry Rufus. He performs a song, which is probably the most appalling moment of the evening. Let me just conclude by saying Harvey deserved better.


Church & State, by Jason Odell Williams, at New World Stages, is the best play I have seen this season. A Republican U. S. Senator (a brilliant Rob Nagle) from North Carolina is running for reelection. He speaks with a reporter (Jonathan Louis Dent) at a funeral of a child murdered in his elementary school classroom by a lunatic with an automatic rifle.

He mentions that it is hard to believe in a Supreme Being that could allow such a senseless murder. This statement causes him much trouble. His wife (Nadia Bowers) and his campaign manager (Christa Scott-Reed) try to apply damage control. The four member cast give splendid performances, directed by Markus Potter. It touches on a very important topic, the question of gun control in  the United States. It also speaks eloquently on faith and politics. I enjoyed every minute of this serious, intelligent, and occasionally funny, play.


Daniel's Husband, by Michael McKeever, at the Cherry Lane Theatre, is a production of Primary Stages, one of the finest Off-Broadway companies. The excellent five member cast, is directed by Joe Brancato. To marry or not to marry, that is the question, which confronts two gay men, and it is interesting to see how the plot develops.The opening night party was held at Sushi Samba, 87 Seventh Ave. S. with guests Michael Urie and Michael Musto, and we all drank delicious Caparinhas, Brazil's national drink. It was a lovely event.


Welcome back to New York the Joffrey Ballet! When it moved to Chicago many years ago, I was saddened. It was one of my favorite companies. I was delighted to see the wonderful company again at the David H. Koch Theatre with their superb production of Romeo & Juliet, music by Sergei Prokofiev, choreography by Krzysztof Pastor, in an updated version, with set and costume design by Tatyana van Walsum. It now takes place in an unnamed city in Italy over many years beginning in the 30s and ending in the 90s. The entire company dance marvelously, but the leads were spectacular. Alberto Velazquez (Romeo) and Amanda Assucena (Juliet) were a lovely couple and dance brilliantly. It was one of the best performances that I have ever seen of this magnificent ballet.


I went to a photo op for Can You Forgive Her?, by Gina Gionfriddo, which opens on May 23 at the Vineyard Theatre. I photographed the five member cast, directed by Peter DuBois. Amber Tamblyn will make her Off-Broadway debut, along with cast members Frank Wood, Eshan Bay Darren Pettie and Ella Deshowitz. I look forward to opening night.


I attended the opening night party for The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical at Houston Hall, 222 W. Houston St. Although I arrived late from the Sushi Samba opening night party, I was able to photograph one of the cast members, Kristin Stokes, and have a beer. The venue has an enormous bar, that specializes in beer.


I was invited to attend a fascinating event at 41 Madison Avenue, 23rd floor, the launch of Wedgewood Wonderlust and Tea Cocktails in their beautiful showroom. We enjoyed delicious hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, some mixed with tea, while admiring the magnificent collections of tea service from every company that produces the wondrous lovely cups, saucers and glassware. It was something special.


We arrived at Mozzarella & Vino, 33 West 54th St, at noon, and within fifteen minutes, the restaurant was packed to capacity with happy, contented customers. I think that is proof how wonderful it is. We began our lunch, sampling two superb white wines, as the manager George Coteanu presented us with a delicious appetizer, a plate of fried zucchini.  My wife ordered a soup of garbanzos, Cacciucco di ceci alla Toscana before eating the Lasagna of the day, and I ordered the Ravioli of the day. Each day the pasta is different. My wife's lasagna was filled with pork sausage and truffles, and my ravioli was filled with ricotta cheese in a tomato sauce. Needless to say, they were two magnificent dishes. Our waiter Josue brought us two more wines, a white Chardonnay and a surprise, an Italian rose, Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo 2014 Marramiero. I have tasted many rose wines in Provence, but this was their equal, if not superior. We finished our lunch with a Torta Di Mascarpone "Tiramisu" Style and a Dark Chocolate and Almond Cake. And Josue served me grappa. This completed one of the best lunches I have ever eaten. Take my advice and visit this charming restaurant open daily 11:30 am-10:00pm.




Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/Blacktiemagazine.com

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